Shattering Rear Windows Leave SUV Owners Ducking For Cover

It doesn't matter if the temperature is hot or cold, or even if the car is moving or parked, the rear windows of some Ford Explorer, Escape, Edge and Mercury Mountaineers SUVs are just exploding at random.

Imagine you’re going on vacation. The tank is full, the kids are actually behaving in the back seat and you’re putting the last packed bag in the back. You go to close your rear gate when suddenly the window explodes, sending little shards of glass all over you, your kids and your luggage.

Sound unbelievable? Those are real stories from Ford and Mercury owners who have had their rear window explode with no explanation.

A Bit of History on Exploding Windows

The Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer both have a history of shattering rear windows dating back to the late 90’s, but it wasn’t until 2002 that the problem got so bad Ford couldn’t ignore it any longer.

About 955,000 2002-03 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs were recalled in 2004 for faulty strut brackets and hinges that could loosen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) documented 165 reports of injuries from the breaking glass resulting from loose components, and almost 5,000 complaints. The recall states:

“The brackets connecting the left cylinders to each side of the liftgate could rotate out of position if either the urethane bond or torque are not sufficient.”

Here, let us rewrite that for you Ford: “The brackets will definitely rotate out of place because the bond we used isn’t even close to being sufficient!” That’s more like it.

But does this recall really even address the complete problem? What about those all those drivers who say the window shatters when they’re just driving down the road? Or those who say they had it “fixed” only to have the glass still explode on them:

Several years ago we took our Explorer to the dealer for the rear glass strut attachment recall. We had this fix immediately upon getting the recall card. The dealer applied some sort of glue between the glass and the strut attachment bracket. Last night I opened the tailgate window (not the whole tailgate), upon closing the glass when the window was about 1/3 of the way down, it exploded. I was applying mo more pressure than normal and was pushing from the center. The wiper panel hit the ground just missing me, I received several minor cuts on the back of my hand. It could have been much worst.” “mbramona from Ramona, CA

2011 NHTSA Investigation

For owners of the Escape and Mountaineer, good news came in February 2011 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced an investigation into this shattering glass problem. The government agency received 18 complaints, which is a far cry from the hundreds we’ve seen on

No recall has been issued yet, but a Ford spokesman told the Detroit News that they were “aware of the investigation.” Aware is great, fixing the problem is better.

Ford’s Response

No recall has been issued yet, but a Ford spokesman told the Detroit News that they were “aware of the investigation.” Aware is great, fixing the problem is better.

Ford did issue a technical service bulletin on the matter last November, where they stated that “some 2010-2011 Escape and Mariner vehicles built on or before Oct. 15, 2010 may experience the lift gate window glass breaking, typically when colder ambient temperatures are present.” Explain that one to the people reporting this problem from Hawaii.

Vehicles That Might Have This Problem

Model Generation Years PainRank
Escape 2nd Gen 2008–2012 58.23
Explorer 3rd Gen 2002–2005 123.49

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, you can help make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint

  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify the CAS

  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA

  4. Contact Ford

    Ford Support

    P.O. Box 6248 Dearborn MI 48126 USA

    This site is not affiliated with Ford.